Orta

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Kentucky took a major step forward as a program at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships on Saturday at Irwin Belk Track, sending a total of 10 competitors to the national championships.

Four Wildcats clinched spots in the NCAA semifinals on Saturday, giving Kentucky 11 total entries.

The top-12 placers in each event qualified for the NCAA championships, which will be held June 5-9, 2013 at Oregon’s Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Six Wildcat men will be in the Eugene field, while four women will compete in five events.

Six of the 10 Wildcats that clinched spots in the outdoor championships field will compete in the event for the first time.

Chelsea Oswald continued her top form in the 5,000 meters as she posted the No. 3 qualifying time out of the east, crossing the finish line in 15:59.20. The 2013 SEC Champion at 5K and 10K will be the lone Wildcat to compete in two events at the NCAAs.

Matt Hillenbrand displayed an impressive kick on the bell lap, holding off three rival competitors down the home stretch to win his heat in 3:47.72. The SEC Indoor Mile Champion reached the NCAA championships for the first time in his career.

Keith Hayes confirmed his spot in the fourth championships of his career with a wind-legal and season-best 110 hurdles time 13.26.

Kayla Parker, a junior team captain, cruised into the NCAA 100 hurdles semifinal with a time of 13.26. She will be making her debut appearance at the NCAA championships.

Seven other Wildcats booked their spots in Eugene on either Thursday or Friday.

Andrew Evans, Rebecca Famurewa, Chelsea Oswald, Raymond Dykstra, Bradley Szypka, Keilah Tyson and Luis Orta all qualified for NCAAs before Saturday.

Tamyah Pipkin posted a .03-second wind-legal collegiate-best time of 23.64 in the 200 meters. She was fifth in her heat and placed 15th overall.

Cally Macumber was sixth in the second 5K heat, missing the automatic qualifying place by a spot. She was 13th overall.

Allison Peare was eighth in heat two of the women’s 1,500 with a time of 4:22.50. She placed 16th overall.